Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Things in London

Tobias Madison at new space

Watch Me Move
at the Barbican for The Fleisher Brothers (which made me laugh out loud), Len Lye and Brackage abstract pieces and jawdroppingly the actual Jan Svankmajer's Alice doll in her own strange room.

Crawl around Christoph Buchel's surprisingly empty genius work Piccadilly Community Centre (be sure to open doors marked private and climb to the roof)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Heaven, Hell and Everywhere In Between

My sister Seana Gavin opened her first solo show last night which runs until August. Proud is an understatement. The work rocks Heaven, Hell and Everywhere In Between and will be available for sale online from this week from
12-8pm Tue- Fri, 2-8pm Sat, 3939shop Gallery, 2-4 Old Street, (the basement) London. EC1V 9AA

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Top Ten: Venice Biennale 2011

1 Ho Tzu Nyen - Singapore Pavillion
The cloud of the unknowing was the most exhilerating, beautifully shot moment of total cinema I have ever experienced.

2 Thomas Hirschhorn - Swizterland Pavillion
Cuetips, mobile phones, tinfoil, crystals, videos of politics and revolution on ipads, masking tape - overwhelming in every sense.

3 Mike Nelson - British Pavillion
A Turkish ghetto created immaculately within the pavillion. Less over the top that his best known work but equally as emotive.

4 Pippilotti Rist
A trio of kitsch as hell video collage pieces fusing stock footage, psych colours and Canaletto prints - all in tacky gold frames.

5 Sharon Haynes at Danish Pavillion
A history of political records and speeches in the 20th century stood out in a fascinating show on the freedom of speech.

6 Haiti Pavillion
Who knew there was so much good talent here? Really inventive use of foam, nails and any materials going. And of course a touch of voodoo.

7 Cashpoint at US Pavillion
As your put your card in music plays from the giant organ attached. Even better was at first noone knew the Allora and Calzadilla piece was interactive. (Great Hugo Boss party to celebrate too).

8 Anish Kapoor's Ascension
A surprisingly sprititual tornedo of smoke in an empty basilica.

9 Loris Greaud at Pinault's Palazzo Grassi
A fat round moon at night with a wood of black fake trees.

10 Palazzo Fortuny
3rd year of sheer and utter genius. Veervordt scores a hattrick.

and obviously Christian Marclay's The Clock - which is so great and iconic that it surpasses placement in any top ten. And I cant believe i was lucky enough to be one of the first people to see some of these when I interviewed him in his studio for AnOther.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Venice parties in the style of ArtForum's Scene and Heard

We kicked off with the Palazzo Grassi for Pinault's latest collection unveil. Bumping into Interview's Alex Gartenfeld on the way we swept around the space (garnering a handshake from Monsieur Pinault himself) enjoying the Loris Greaud, Fredrich Kunath and Joana Vasconcelos works and not enjoying the sea of press photographers who kept ambushing us to pose as interested viewers. TimeOut's Ossian Ward and Bon's Freire Barnes legged it to the Giardini while we hit the Grassi brunch in the most beautiful garden in Venice. Took a Pinault taxi to Punta Della Dogana to pay hommage to Ed Keinholz' Roxy's before passing by the Bauer where we found Dave Dorrell in search of John Giorno. We had our first bellinis with him on the terrasse (alongside Yorgo Tloupas and Alex Duve) before heading to the Michael Somoroff and August Sander show off San Marco (followed but a delicious dinner at the Danieli). A sweaty dance to Theophilus London at the Flash Art party was followed by a relatively low key Bauer night with Matthew Stone DJing. Chatted to Terence Koh about the week ahead and headed for bed before prosecco took control.

Ran to Giardini in the am - I could go on about how great Thomas Hirschhorn's health and safety nightmare for Switzerland was, or Mike Nelson's toast to Turkey, or Denmark's freedom of speech group show but where's the gossip in that? The main pavillion was pretty dull bar Cyprien Gaillard's postcard-beer label collages, Haroon Mirza's sound works and especially Pippilotti Rist's genius psychedelic kitsch video collages in tacky gold frames. Post disco nap we headed to the party of the week - Francois Pinault's dinner on San Giorgio Maggiore. Joined Geoff 'In Venice' Dyer and Rebecca Wilson for Aperol Spritz on the private shuttle Vaparetto and queued up for a swift entry with Jeff Koons, Sophie Calle, Salma Hayek, Francois Mitterand and few small names I forget. 'The most beautiful party ever created in the world' (officially) was spent eating cheese and drinking Rustica Prosecco with the beyond lovely Michael Stipe and Thomas Dozol amongst 600 candles in a monastic garden. We left to try to the so-so Whitecube party where Jefferson Hack, a Serbian prince and the usual suspects from London were drinking in honour of Christian Marclay. The Bauer seemed a better option and overpriced glasses of prosecco were consumed with a dapper Cyprien Gaillard, supercool Jack from Salem and Jamie Shovlin until 5am...

Refusing exhaustion, as June 2 was the big day. Orientale and Modernikon in the day, grab a random pizza with Jefferson, enforced disco-napping and then on to the Palazzo Fortuny before the crowds to see the exhibition as artwork that never fails to please. Garance Dore, Alexandra Senes, Jefferson Hack and Seana Gavin join to the Fondazione Prada (missing Peggy Gugg's which was a sad loss as usually so lovely). 1200 people were squeezing into the 200 capacity venue. My fashion-connected compadres squeezed to the front where a frightening 50-something in a denim hat decides to scream at me for no obvious reason shouting 'stronza' at the top of her lungs which I responded with a calm zen like loving responses which probably annoyed the lunatic Milanese gallerist even more. Health hath no fury like a badly dressed menopausal woman... The art was impossible to see so we headed to Hugo Boss's stunning garden party for Allora and Calzadilla, dropped into Kemel Mennour'sparty in honour of Siglit Landau representing Israel in the Scuola di Rocca (newly named the School of Rock) before ending up dancing to someone from 2 Many DJS and Lucky PDF til 3am at the Anton Ginzburg/Grandlife hotel party with Gary Baseman's dolls. End by heading past Gavin Brown's piccolo mondo party to the dregs of the Bauer for Commerical Break to see friends from POST do their thing (with a touch of help from Dasha Zhukova and Neville Wakefield) but decide not to bother with the door nazis.

The morning after the numerous nights before discover my friend has been put in prison for stealing a gondola - and stayed there for 36 hours. Something that gave the next few days a slight touch of stress to say the least.... but we still manage to fit in art while attempting to contact international consulates. Haunch of Venison's brunch involved serious laughter over dirty dirty stories from Jamie Shovlin and Jon Nash. Lisson's beautiful brunch that followed was amazing. Christian Jankowski enthused over his forthcoming baby with Pinchuk Prize nominee Jorinde Voigt. Haroon Mirza had yet to hear he had won the silver lion prize and was in relaxed mode. Alex Logsdail was in fine form and the salmon tartare was mouthwatering. Did the Arsenale (highlights Rashid Johnson, Christian Marclay's ever addictive Clock, Urs Fisher, Elad Lassry and Haroon Mirza's installation) did the Interview party (Venice has obviously become a mecca for all publication parties) and look at Cyp's photos of Mark Gonzales skating the streets of Venice earlier that day. Drink the Bauer dry before 5 mins at the Le Baron party, where Olympia Le Tan thought it was sexy to look like a toddler with her dress tucked into her underwear...

Head to the police to break my friend out of jail (to no avail though it did make the cover of the Venice Times) and give up and head for the beach (where we hear of my friend's overdue release). That night was the surprise party of the week for 'one of a thousand ways to defeat entropy' a collateral show co-curated by Nadim Samman and Alexander Ponomarev. It felt like the best Russian wedding in the world - and we were the bridesmaids. Those au fait with Russian Hello! may have a clue re the couture clad clientele. We race through the streets - one of our party swinging her bag above her head like a banshee and overhear passer by say 'Oh. Is it the biennale?' 'No' their friend responds. 'Thats just how the English enjoy themselves'...